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Ole Miss hoops narrowly survive early season upset against UT Martin

Whew, hope ya didn’t bet the spread

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Missouri Tigers vs Ole Miss Rebels Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

UT-Martin was 0-4 against Ole Miss and only had one victory over an SEC school ever. In what should have been a tune up for tougher opponents ahead, the Rebs narrowly escaped a vastly inferior opponent, 72-68.

The Rebel basketball team is 4-0 headed into a tough holiday stretch against Stanford and a bevy of Power Five opponents.

It was a match in the mud from the tip as it took both teams almost 10 minutes to break the 15 point mark. With 13 minutes remaining in the first half, Ole Miss took its first lead of the contest 15-14 on a Jayveous McKinnis lay up. It wasn’t the tortoise and the hare, it was more like the tortoise and the tortoise as both teams sludged their way through the slop.

Over the final six minutes of the half, UT-Martin went on an 11-3 run to take a lead into the half 39-32. Yes, 6.5 minutes and 14 total points - absolutely atrocious offensive basketball on both ends. Which if you are UT-Martin, it is to be expected going up against an SEC school built with several conference defensive player of the year winners. For the Rebs? Totally discouraging.

It took nine minutes in the second half before Ole Miss would regain the lead for good, 49-47 on a Matthew Murrell made lay up. The lead would get as high as nine points before the score ultimately ended at 72-68.

Just looking at the numbers... surrendering almost 40 points to this bunch in the first half isn’t a good look for an Ole Miss team that presumably hangs its hat on the defensive end. To no one’s surprise, Kermit’s crew shot 5-19 for three. Not only did the Rebels shoot a low volume (which they probably should) the team shot it at a terribly poor rate.

In the end, there was nothing all that impressive or anything to write home about. The defense will need to tighten up before next Thursday’s matchup against the Stanford Cardinal or it won’t be such a Happy Thanksgiving for the boys in blue.